Caregiver Employment

As the population ages, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the personal and home care aide job category will more than double in the next ten years.  If you are looking for job stability, becoming a senior caregiver could be the career for you.

While advances in medicine are enabling seniors to live longer, additional care services are often required.  For instance, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases dramatically for those over age 65.

According to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, about 40% of people aged 65 or older have age associated memory impairment (about 16 million people in the U.S.A.). Only about 1% of them will progress to dementia each year.  Although patients with mild cognitive impairment are able to continue to live independently, they show objective memory  impairments similar to those seen in people with very mild Alzheimer's disease. And about 10% of people aged 65 years or older have mild cognitive impairment, and nearly 15% of them develop Alzheimer's disease each year.

These are just the statistics for Alzheimer's disease care needs.  The likelihood for heart disease, stroke, cancer and Parkinson's disease also increase as we age.  Another interesting statistic:  the number one risk for women to develop breast cancer is living a longer life - the older we are, the greater the risk. 

The caregiver category is identified as professionals who help the elderly, disabled, ill and mentally disabled live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in health facilities.

What type of jobs are available for senior caregivers? Nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospitals and senior home care agencies all hire certified nursing aides.  Usually certification can be obtained within two months and sometimes scholarships or grants are available from community programs. 

Caregiverlist's Senior News reports nursing homes will continue to need Certified Nursing Aides and provides information about the nursing aide programs in California and Illinois.

Have you worked as a nursing aide in a nursing home, hospital or for a senior home care agency?  We invite you to share with our site visitors which type of position you preferred.

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Caregiver Jobs

Even with the economic downturn, there continue to be openings for caregiving positions with Senior Home Care Agencies, Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.

Why do there continue to be caregiver job openings?

One of the reasons is the aging population as the large Baby Boomer generation ages (the number of seniors over age 65 will double in the next 20 years) and their care needs develop as they grow older.

Lori Porter, a senior leader of the Coalition to Protect Senior Care says nursing facilities nationwide are challenged by staffing shortages, estimated to be at 110,000 for front line direct care workers in skilled nursing facilities.  With 3 out of 4 nursing facility patients paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, sometimes the facilities only staff one nursing aide for as many as 15 patients.  Because of this, there is high turnover by the aides as they often feel they cannot adequately keep up with the patient needs and become exhausted and frustrated.  At the same time, nursing aides may continue their education and move to other positions on the staff.

Because Medicare does not pay for long-term care in a nursing facility, seniors are also opting for care in the home which has created a new industry in recent years.  Senior Home Care Agencies provide professional care in the home and the caregiver provides care for just one client.  Many nursing aides will choose to move to positions in senior home care after working at a nursing facility because they prefer to provide one-on-one care for a senior.  Both long-term care insurance policies and the Veteran's Aide and Attendance benefit will pay for care in the home provided by a licensed senior care agency.  Many senior care companies have launched to provide for this care, creating an entire industry in just the last 10 years.

Senior Home Care Agencies hire both part-time and full-time caregivers to accommodate client needs, as new clients can arrive daily as they are discharged from the hospital and choose to go to their own home to recover.  In addition, many clients who develop memory loss will opt for home care to keep their meals, medications and personal care on track.

Caregiving positions may require specific training and usually a Senior Home Care Agency can assist caregivers with obtaining training through their own programs our through community programs.  Certified Nursing AIde classes are offered by community colleges and technical colleges and usually can be completed in 6 to 8 weeks, depending on if they are full or part-time programs.  Background and reference checks are required to work with seniors.

You may submit a job application on Caregiverlist to be connected with hiring senior care companies in your area.

 

 

 

 

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Certified Nursing Assistant Rescues Infant

The shootings in Alabama this week brought the spotlight to a Certified Nursing Assistant who came to the rescue of a 3-month old baby who was the one survivor on the front porch of the shooter's uncle's home.  With the baby's mother shot and killed,  along with four others, Alina Knowles quietly crept onto the porch to avoid being seen by the shooter and brought the baby to safety at a neighbor's house.

Her training helped her to respond with calmness to an emergency situation.

Many caregivers for seniors become certified nursing aides after a personal experience of caregiving.  Caregiverlist's "Share Your Story" allows caregivers to share their experience of caregiving and also tell about what lead them to provide care as a professional caregiver.  Caregivers working as Certified Nursing Aides learn how to cope with the emotional challenges of caregiving, as well as how to provide physical care assistance as well.

 

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Caregiver Interview Questions

Senior Home Care Agencies have created systems to effectively hire quality caregivers.  Nursing homes and Assisted Living communities also have hiring systems for Certified Nursing Aides.

Beyond the usual questions about experience and previous jobs you have held, hiring companies need this information to more quickly process your application:

1) Copy of Certificates for any specialized training (Certified Nursing Aide, Home Health Aide)

2) Copy of your identification: Driver's License, State I.D., Social Security card or Passport

3) Names and phone numbers of at least 3 personal references and 3 business references (can be a manager or colleague)

4) Names and addresses of former employers along with valid phone numbers for each

Note:  you may obtain non-medical caregiver certification through an approved 10-hour online caregiver certification course.

Caregiverlist receives many questions about the hiring process and most of these questions are answered on our FAQ's.  And, what do we think is the most important question for both the hiring company and the caregiver?  Finding out the reason the caregiver was attracted to working as a caregiver.  There are many types of work which will pay more than caregiving and the best caregivers are doing senior care for many reasons beyond a paycheck.  By finding out what these reasons are, you will learn more about the caregiver applicant and gain insight about their personal values.

 

 

 

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Senior Care Jobs

Even with the slowing economy and the highest rate of unemployment in decades, there remains a strong demand for senior caregivers to meet the staffing needs of senior care companies.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregiving job applicants to hiring companies in their area for both part-time and full-time senior care jobs.

Senior Home Care Agencies are constantly hiring caregivers due to some of the unique aspects of the industry: 

-Hospital stays are shorter:  a senior may be discharged while still needing some assistance while recovering from a hip replacement or other types of surgery or from an illness (and I won't even mention the fact that sometimes seniors take home a new infection from the hospital which requires a caregiver to assist them while recovering).

-Medicare will pay for rehabilitation in the home now:  Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and RN's will provide care in the home for a senior as long as the medical doctor gives approval.  However, these skilled professionals just provide rehabilitation care within their specialties and do not provide daily care for Activities of Daily Living which means non-medical caregivers must be hired to assist (and this is usually superior to staying in a nursing facility which does not provide one-on-care by a Certified Nursing Aide).

-Hospice care:  many times seniors who have a terminal illness will choose to have hospice care in the home and will require a caregiver to assist with their personal care.

-Memory loss:  with advancements in medical technology and treatments, seniors are living longer and the longer we live, the more our chances of having some type of memory loss increase.  Many times part-time care is required to keep everything on track for a senior suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.

Senior care jobs include working as a non-medical companion caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or as a scheduler or recruiter for a Senior Home Care Agency to keep things moving as new clients begin services and as current client's care needs change.  Most Senior Home Care Agencies provide training and there are also many community programs and associations that provide training seminars on senior care.  Caregiverlist's short job application connects your information with multiple hiring companies in your area to help meet the ongoing staffing needs for senior caregivers.

 Some positions will require experience and others will only require a caring disposition and dependability.  Reference and background checks are always required the pay is always well above minimum wage (you can also learn all about background check requirements in your state as well as minimum wage on Caregiverlist's "by state" pages)

 

 

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Hiring a Caregiver

When a senior needs extra assistance with their care, because of memory loss, an age-related illness or mobility issues, it becomes necessary to evaluate the best way to provide for the care needs.

The senior care industry refers to these basic care needs as "Activities of Daily Living".  This includes assisting with walking, bathing, toileting and meals.  Nursing Aides and Home Health Aides (each state sets requirements for certification for nursing assistants) are trained to properly provide for senior care needs.  Certification classes usually take 4 to 8 weeks (depending on if it is a part-time or full-time program).  Nursing facilities and hospitals are usually required to have a minimum level of certified nursing assistants on staff based on the number of residents and patients.  Senior Home Care Agencies may staff companion caregivers, as well as nursing aides, depending on the care needs of the senior.

It is important to consider the toll caregiving will take on a spouse or relative.  The physical work required can be substantial and when this is combined with the need to interact with a loved one as a caregiver, the relative can quickly become exhausted and sometimes even depressed.  This is because they are most likely missing out on many of their own daily activities which they now no longer have the time to enjoy.

Many families have told me that hiring a professional caregiver was the best decision they ever made.  The cost is really minimal when you consider that it will allow relatives to spend quality time with their loved one.  Many times the health of a spouse who is performing the duties of caregiving will also decline significantly.  Caregiving is not easy work.  However, it is a little easier when the person performing the care is not a relative or friend and is able to come to work refreshed and leave to go back to their own life.

Caregiverlist does provide quality standards for Senior Home Care Agencies who provide information on their rates and services for our users and you can learn more about the benefits of hiring a senior home care agency from our home page.

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Certified Nursing Aide

One of the first questions a senior will ask when needing additional care services is:  what duties does a Certified Nursing Aide perform?

My answer is always that the Certified Nursing Aide is the person who performs the "hands-on" care in a nursing home or in hospitals.

The department of public health in each state creates their own nursing aide certification guidelines.   Schools must receive approval to offer a Certified Nursing Aide program and nursing aides working in licensed nursing facilities must be certified.

There are many little details for providing care which can make a huge difference in the quality of the care - nursing aides learn these details as a student in a nursing certification program.

Skills include:  transfers, bathing, dressing, bed pan and catheter care, range of motion exercises, checking vital signs, decubitus ulcer care (bed sores), feeding tube, oxygen tank, hearing aide care, understanding age-related medical conditions and how to interact with a variety of patient personalities (including combative patients).  Making sure sanitary conditions are always maintained are also taught.

Tuition for Certified Nursing Aide training is usually from $500 to $1,000 and many times reimbursement is available through employee programs at nursing centers and hospitals or through city or state incentive programs.

Harold Washington College, a city community college in Chicago, Illinois, charges a $629 tuition fee for their Certified Nursing Aide program.  The Spring semester runs from January 19th and runs for 12 or 13 weeks depending on if it is the day or evening program.  The day program meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 8am to 4pm and the evening program meets Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 9pm.

Upon completion of the course, students take the state exam and then may begin working as a Certified Nursing Aide.



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January Unemployment at 7.6% but not for Caregivers

Although the unemployment rate for January has been reported as 7.6%, the good news is that jobs actually increased in the healthcare industry. 

Medicare does not provide for longterm care in a nursing home and because of this, more and more seniors are making the decision to receive one-to-one care by their own professionally managed caregiver at home, rather than rehabilitating from a stroke or hip replacement in a nursing center which may often only provide one nursing aide for every 12 to 15 senior patients.  This prevents the aid from being able to adequately interact and motivate each elderly patient adequately, especially if one patient has a mishap which requires more time. 

In fact, staffing is sometimes inadequate enough in many nursing homes that even those seniors who are rehabilitating in the nursing center while Medicare is paying for their care will hire their own private senior caregiver to assist them. 

Working as a senior caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide will pay between $8.00 and $16.00 per hour, depending on what part of the U.S.A. you live in.  In addition, you receive professional training and benefits.  Companion care may not require formal training beyond what a senior care company provides and usually pays 50% to 100% more than minimum wage.

In addition, senior caregiving delivers a fulfilling career, as you know you truly made a positive difference for someone when you go home at the end of the day.  As caregiving sometimes require 24-hour around the clock staffing, there are many opportunities for weekend and evening hours for those who are seeking extra income or a part-time job while studying for a professional career.  Many times nurses and social workers will work as companion caregivers while in school studying for their prerequisites for nursing school or while an undergrad.

Caregiverlist's Career Center provides information about working as a caregiver and connects applicants with hiring senior care companies in their area. You can also read stories from other caregivers to learn about their experiences working as a senior caregiver.

 

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Senior Volunteering

President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that he wants his inauguration to be about more than him; it should be about getting all Americans involved in community service.

Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and their families plan to participate in service projects in the Washington area Jan. 19th and are encouraging every American to roll up their sleeves and become involved in their communities to renew the promise of America.

If you are a senior, this is a reminder to get involved in your community, especially if you are retired and now have the time to volunteer.  And if you are a Caregiver, this is an opportunity to take the skills you have learned to other seniors.  Seniors are usually the most grateful group to volunteer for as many of them may have experienced the loss of family and friends and are open to making new friends and welcoming volunteers.

From meal programs to senior services, you can find out about senior volunteer programs through your local Area Agency on Aging and you can find this information in Caregiverlist's "By State" listings.

And, if you are thinking about becoming a professional caregiver but do not have paid experience, look into volunteering with a local hospice which will usually provide you with training and assign you to one-on-one care with a senior.  This is great caregiving experience that will assist you in finding a caregiving job.

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Quality Hiring Practices for Caregivers

Professionally hired Caregivers have a few advantages over those who do not work for a quality licensed Senior Home Care Agency or senior living community.  And, so do the seniors who they serve.

As corporations carry insurance coverage for liability and provide a Fidelity Bond, they are required to follow certain procedures for hiring.  In addition, in order to provide quality care and maintain a dependable staff, they have implemented hiring practices which screen Caregivers for dependability, skills and trustworthiness.  Many systems must be in place to properly screen a Caregiver for hiring purposes and to actively manage a Caregiver to provide them with all the resources they need to deliver quality senior care.

Did you see the movie "Catch Me if You Can"?  Frank Abagnale is the star of the movie and a con-artist who poses as an airline pilot and medical doctor, to name just a couple of his disguises, to successfully steal from companies and individuals.  Frank served his time in prison and now advises companies and is hired to train the FBI on how to avoid scam artists.  Frank has also written a book called "The Art of the Steal" to advise companies and individuals on how to protect themselves.  (Tom Hanks acted in the movie and provides a testimonial for reading the book saying anyone with money in their pocket or in the bank should read it).  My business banker actually gave me a copy of the book and I have found it to be fascinating reading.

Caregiverlist promotes the need for professional background checks to be conducted on all Caregivers.  In addition, we provide information on background check laws in each state and try to educate consumers about the need for a multi-state criminal background check - - - many of the nanny websites and direct-hire caregiving websites that provide background checks simply do not provide multi-state criminal background checks - they just provide the good ol' social security name match and many of those are not even complete to include addresses where the person has lived, going back for at least 7 years.  I won't name names but if the background check is free, ask questions and click fast to another website that explains the depth of their background checks and discloses the costs.  That is especially true when you are hiring a Caregiver to come behind closed doors to assist your family.  You need to know who you are bringing into your home and who will have access to the senior's personal information.

Frank Abagnale's book provides solid information about hiring employees and putting controls in place to prevent improper conduct.  After owning a senior home care agency and hiring more than 1,000 Caregivers during that time, I agree that proper systems are necessary so that even an honest person is not tempted.  Caregiving is stressful and when a comfort level is developed with a client relationship, if proper systems are not in place, opportunities for taking advantage are presented.  Caregivers for seniors also need to be protected from false accusations by seniors with memory loss who can become paranoid.

Frank's book also mentions a study which found that 10 percent of employees would steal all of the time if given an easy enough opportunity, another 10 percent would never steal and 80 percent would steal if given the right motive.  That means companies must be concerned about 90 percent of their workforce and have systems in place which prevent the opportunity for theft from being offered.

This is why, especially with senior care in the home, a professional senior home care agency provides great value.  Senior home care agencies have created hiring procedures which keep people with dubious backgrounds out of their companies and they know how to do quality background checks and how to go beyond background checks with reference checks and interview questions which enable them to only hire trustworthy caregivers.  And, they coach clients and set-up controls so that invitations for theft and other improprietary activities cannot take place.  They supervise the caregivers and check-in on the client and caregiver to keep the care on track.  Career caregivers working for professional agencies receive benefits and want to maintain their employment and in my experience, will call immediately to report even activities by  a senior's family members which may not seem appropriate.  They also want proper system in place.  Senior Home Care Agencies, for instance, require Caregivers to call for approval before accepting any client gifts, even at the holidays, just to name one of the policies which protect both the client and the caregiver.

You may learn more about background checks on Caregiverlist.com and find the laws for background checks in your state which may over-ride the FCRA when senior care or child care is being provided.

 

 

 

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